Hello, lovelies! I’ve got three announcements for you:
First, I’m heading to YouTube! Starting November 1st, there will be a new video every week in addition to a written article. So keep your eyes peeled for a channel called Dragons, Zombies, & Aliens.
Second, I'm branching into self-publishing territory. Who remembers The Adventures of the Flying Cobras? I'm rebooting that epic fantasy and turning it into a graphic novel/illustrated novel series. The thing is, illustrators are expensive. As is marketing. And printing. And editing. And all the other little things that goes into publishing one book, never mind a whole series. So there'll be a crowdfunding campaign in the near future.
And last but not least, we have another Earth’s Final Chapter giveaway! Once again, we’re giving out 25 copies, this time of book three, Brother Leon (cover on the left). Fun fact: the illustrator for this one is also the illustrator for Homestead Hunts.
I’ve got a description and review for you:
A new empire emerges. Uncovering the past and forgotten history of a time before the Last War. Two monks embark on an epic journey, seeking the truth. A dark cloud hangs over the city of Fatima as the Emperor works to keep his people safe. The story of Earth's Final Chapter continues.
Review by Abby Adams
Book Three, “Brother Leon” brings a new writer and a darker tone. The narrative shifts away from the Planetary Council to a young and struggling European Empire. The fate of religion in the post-nuclear world is addressed for the first time, and the reader learns far more about the devastating wars of the past. The violence in the writing and illustrations is visceral throughout, but well-handled and never veers into unnecessary gore. This book brings in more humor as well, which is welcome alongside some of the heavier themes. “Brother Leon” readily delves into questions about freedom and terrorism, whether and when violence is justified, and what turns people into monsters. The illustrations are particularly rich in this installment and help give it additional depth.
This giveaway ends next Thursday, September 7th, at 11:59pm, so sign up quick for your chance to win!
We have another book giveaway starting up today! This one is the second installment of the Earth's Final Chapter series Captain Taylor: the Starship Ceu. If you haven't read the first book yet, don't worry about it! This series is designed so you can drop in at any point and start reading.
Here is a review by Abby Adams:
Captain Taylor: The Starship Ceu is an excellent and intriguing expansion on the world. Here, the setting jumps from an isolated North America in “Avinon” to a busy starship potentially making first contact with alien life. The character development and dialogue improve from the previous book, and the characters are well rounded with believable motives. The reader learns more about the world’s past, and the villainous Planetary Council gains much more nuance. Thematically, this book explores questions of personal ambition versus a greater good, and who gets the right to determine ‘greater good’ in the first place. It is fascinating to watch characters grapple with questions and judgement calls in grey areas, knowing they lack all the information. “Captain Taylor” is a solid addition to Earth’s Final Chapter and certainly clinches the reader’s interest in the rest of the books.
I'm giving away 25 copies. Want one? Enter the giveaway by clicking the button below. The giveaway ends on Wednesday, August 31st, at 11:59pm.
Note: this book is also available on the Blog Giveaway Directory.
Hello lovelies! My graphic novella Homestead Hunts, the eighth book of the Earth's Final Chapter series, comes out in November. So this week, I am giving away 25 copies of the first installment in the series: Julian Fernandes's Avinon.
Deep in the Blackened Forest at the end of a long hunt, Avinon is drawn into an unexpected situation. It is only the start of the young man's adventure. A group of youths learn to trust each other and survive the harsh and toxic world. Their journey is part of something bigger, a quest that will forever change their lives. The introduction to, "Earth's Final Chapter."
This giveaway will go until next Thursday (August 24th). Winners will be announced the next day.
All entrants must sign up via e-mail (because that's how I'll deliver the code for your free book). But you can get extra entries by visiting the Facebook page, following me and the publisher on Twitter, and more!
Click on the link below for more details! Or you can sign up right away.
It’s Father’s Day! Today we honor our fathers (or father-figures) by taking them out to lunch, doing whatever he thinks is a fun family activity, and suffering through the Dad jokes. It’s a day to be grateful to our fathers for doing their best to take care of us, even though some of you might think you have the worst parents ever.
Maybe you do. But you probably don’t. Most of you could find worse fathers in real life, but where’s the fun in that? I decided to put together a list of the worst fathers of science fiction and fantasy. So let’s thank our dads for not acting like these assholes:
Darth Vader (Star Wars)
It wouldn’t be a “worst fictional fathers” post without him (no, seriously, it wouldn’t. Google it. He’s on every single one of them. It's like a law or something).
First, he’s an absentee father. Sure, Leia had it pretty great as a princess while he was trying to take over the galaxy, but Luke was stuck on a desert planet in a hut. And when Anakin does decide to get into his kids’ lives, he does it first by kidnapping Leia and destroying her home planet. Anakin, the idea is to give the world to your daughter, not blow it up! And this is all before chopping off Luke’s hand in a fight with laser-swords. He’s lucky nobody lost their head.
Fire Lord Ozai (Avatar: The Last Airbender)
We should’ve known Ozai would be a crappy dad when we found out he would be voiced by Jason Isaacs (a.k.a. Lucius Malfoy). His son Zuko said it best: “a terrible fire lord, and a worse father.” He’s emotionally abusive throughout Zuko’s entire childhood. Reading the graphic novels, we find out that the reason for this abuse was to get back at Zuko’s mother for loving another man (he’s not the best husband, either). Then he burns off half of Zuko’s face in front of the entire nation for speaking out of turn and exiles him. And then, when Zuko finally realizes what a dick his dad is and decides to leave, Ozai tries to kill him via lightning. This is actually pretty realistic, since the most dangerous time for a victim of abuse is when they try to leave.
Ozai’s not much better to his favorite kid, either. As bad as Zuko’s issues are, Azula is completely screwed up, and that’s before she goes insane. What’s worse, Ozai hating you or Ozai liking you?
Anthony Cooper (Lost)
Some of us have been swindled by our parents. They’ll promise to get us a specific gift if we do X and then not deliver, or we’ll loan them ten bucks and they’ll never repay it. But I don’t think any of us can say that we’ve been swindled out of a kidney.
For those of you who don’t remember, because Lost was a long time ago and there were a million characters with twenty different storylines, Anthony Cooper was John Locke’s dad. Locke was the bald guy originally in the wheelchair, and the reason he was in that wheelchair is because his organ-stealing papa pushed him out an apartment window.
Anthony was a con artist who ditched the fifteen-year-old he impregnated, then turned around decades later and was Father of the Year when he conveniently needed a kidney transplant. After the surgery, he ditched yet again, then came back after faking his death to convince Locke to retrieve a few hundred thousand dollars from a safety deposit box... which he did before Anthony disappeared again. Their third encounter resulted in Locke suspecting that Anthony was responsible for a murder in his latest con. To prevent Locke from telling anyone, Anthony pushed him out the window.
The really sad part? In the alternate universe, we find out that Anthony was a really good dad, even though he was still a con man. So while he certainly had the potential to be there for Locke, he just never acted on it.
Stannis Baratheon (Game of Thrones)
Stannis wasn’t the best dad even before he burned Shireen alive, but at least his awkwardness wasn’t from malicious intent (unlike a certain Lannister). He’s just crappy with kids. Good thing Davos was in the picture, or Shireen would’ve been even more miserable.
Queen Selyse was an even worse parent than her husband, if not outright emotionally abusive. But at least she sort of redeemed herself in the end and tried to stop Melisandre from killing Shireen. Stannis didn’t seem to regret it at all, as if Shireen was just another casualty of war. It’s not like he could have, I don’t know, left her at Castle Black away from the war, not brought her along at all, or maybe retreating to Castle Black to wait for the blizzard to pass. Those were all such impossible decisions.
Denethor (Lord of the Rings)
Denethor is another parent who made the classic mistake of playing favorites with his kids. At least Boromir turned out to be a decent person. You know, before the Ring tried to turn him against the rest of the Fellowship.
The last time they saw Boromir, Denethor was oh-so-proud of his son for re-taking Osgiliath from the orcs, and so disappointed in Faramir for losing the city beforehand. I’m sorry, Denethor, maybe you missed the nation of orcs on the edge of your border? The one Boromir thought was too powerful for Gondor to take so he left to get the Ring to use as the ultimate weapon? And then there was that awful scene where Denethor tells Faramir to his face that he wishes he had died instead of Boromir. Charming guy, really.
Shou Tucker (Fullmetal Alchemist)
This guy is the scummiest scum who ever scummed the earth. And shut up, that sentence totally makes sense and is completely justified. Stannis Baratheon at least had a tiny sliver of justification for killing Shireen: it was his men’s best chance for survival. Shou Tucker just wanted to keep his job. Yeah, losing his state alchemist license would’ve sucked, a certain blow to his career, but even the biggest workaholics would say that that’s no excuse for fusing your four-year-old kid with your dog. And worst of all, because he’d done it to his wife two years earlier and she killed herself because of it, Shou knew that life as a chimera would be a miserable existence for his kid. That didn’t stop him.
The Elric brothers’ confrontation with Tucker is definitely one of the creepiest scenes in the whole series. Not the homunculi, or Scar, or that sociopathic arsonist Kimblee. Those guys you know from the start are bad. But Shou is just so unassuming and non-threatening. The worst monsters are humans.
All the gods in the Percy Jackson Series
Olympians can’t parent for crap. At best, they completely neglect their kids. At worst, they send them on horrendously dangerous quests across the world. Poseidon knew that his twelve-year-old son would be sent to face horrible monsters and dangerous gods as soon as he was claimed. Did that stop him? Nope.
Athena sent dozens of her kids to their deaths until Annabeth succeeded in getting her statue in Mark of Athena. Zeus/Jupiter forced the woman he knocked up twice to give her two-year-old son to the wolves so he could join the Roman legion. Hera threw Hephaestus off of Olympus for being ugly. The list goes on.
You’d think these guys would know by now that they’re really bad at parenting. Maybe they should start using condoms.
Know someone who should be added to this list? Comment below!
This post was first published in February 2016 on the original Dragons, Zombies and Aliens website on Blogspot.
I’m gearing up for the CONvergence-Con in July, which I am super giddy about because it’s going to be my first time on a panel. It’s also going to be my first Con. I admit I’m a little nervous, but since the topic is “New Hollywood Tropes,” I should be fine. I probably won’t be cosplaying, but I will be enjoying other people’s outfits. I’ve already started browsing online, and I am impressed. The theme for this year’s CONvergence is To Infinity and Beyond, so we’re going to be seeing a lot of Whovians, both sides of the Force, and Trekkies.
The first time I saw a Star Trek uniform for women, my first thought was Oh, that’s cute. And it is. Those dresses are adorable. But then my second thought was, Wait, why is a government uniform "cute"? I thought back to the movies and the show and realized that all of the women are wearing miniskirts. In the military. At work. 300 years into the future.
Yes, yes, I know. Starfleet isn't actually a military despite the guns and wars and ranks. But they are a government program with a ranking system based on the U.S. Navy, and its people spend an awful lot of time traipsing through strange wildernesses and fighting hostile aliens. Have you ever done any of that in a skirt? Not fun. Not fun at all.
I can understand the original series (TOS) having the skirts. It premiered in the 1960s, just when women empowerment and second-wave feminism were starting. And I give full props to the writers for having so many women characters, the first interracial kiss on television, and all the other progressive values and philosophies that we all love, from a time period where that kind of thing could've easily gotten them fired. Or worse. So I'm not going to go nuts over the costume designs of a brilliant TV series from fifty years ago, even if they are a bit objectifying.
It is now the 21st century, people.
Starfleet is supposed to be a peaceful, quasi-military based off of the U.S. Navy, right? Well, here's a modern-day women's uniform worn by officers in today's Navy:
Here is the Starfleet uniform for men. Note the lack of skin showing and objectifying the body, because these are work uniforms.
And now, Starfleet standard issue uniform for women, both in the original show and from Into Darkness:
I don't know about the rest of you girls, but I would freeze my ass off in this. And running away from aliens and monsters and all around the ship? Forget it. So I'd petition for long pants for the winter wasteland planet and shorts for Vulcan, something the guys should have, too. We don't want anyone getting heatstroke here.
Now, in researching this blog post, I did see a few exceptions. Whenever a captain or other high-ranked woman outside of The Enterprise appeared on the original series, they were often in pants, not a miniskirt and tights with knee-high boots. Next Generation (which aired in 1987) had women who didn't wear miniskirts either:
I had to wade through a lot of little tight dresses and questionable Halloween costumes to find this, so I hope you're happy.
This means we went from having some women in miniskirts and some women in pants in the 1960s, to most women wearing realistic quasi-military uniforms in the 1980s, to all miniskirts all the time in the Alternate Original Series in 2009, with a few exceptions from Uhura and one scene from Carol--after being shown in a bra and panties--that put them out of uniform.
The miniskirts look great and are sexy, yes. But woman officers do not get their position by looking great and being sexy. They get it the same way Kirk and Spock and McCoy and all the others did: hard work, talent and skill, and an unhealthy dose of stubbornness. They do not deserve to be objectified by skin-tight dresses.
There is no way in hell that miniskirts would be the standard issue quasi-military uniform in a society as progressive as the Federation. When the next Star Trek movie comes out, I really friggin' hope that we see some more realistic uniforms. It's probably not going to happen, but I still hope.
What do you hope to see in the next Star Trek film? Leave your comments below!
The first Dragons, Zombies and Aliens blog was started in 2015. Somewhere between college coursework, paying rent with door-to-door sales, and keeping up with my sorority sisters, I wrote reviews, rants and commentaries on books, TV shows, and movies. Now, this blog has moved, improved, and the sky's the limit!